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Cal Poly: Athletic and Academic Excellence

Why choose Cal Poly for your academic and athletic future?

1. For 23 years in a row, Cal Poly has been rated the best public-master's university in the West by U.S. News & World Report in its America's Best Colleges guidebook. The university's College of Engineering is ranked No. 2 by the same publication among public engineering programs for schools whose highest degree is a bachelor's or master's, trailing only the U.S. Military Academy.

2. Cal Poly, well known for its coaches with knowledge, passion and a strong interest in the student-athlete experience, is led by president Dr. Jeffrey D. Armstrong, as well as director of athletics Don Oberhelman. Formerly the dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and professor of Animal Science at Michigan State University, Armstrong believes strongly in Cal Poly’s renowned Learn by Doing philosophy. Oberhelman came to Cal Poly after serving as the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Associate Athletic Director at San Diego State University. The Kansas State graduate served as the senior associate athletic director at Southern Mississippi from 2002-07.

3. San Luis Obispo's average yearly temperature high is 73 degrees, it receives an average of 24 inches of rain a year and the number of average days of sunshine each year in the college town is 315. The city of San Luis Obispo has a population of 45,119 (2010 Census) and the average household income in San Luis Obispo is $60,534.

4. Hikers, bikers, equestrians and other outdoor enthusiasts have access to extensive trails, parks and mountains in San Luis Obispo County. There are 15 golf courses within 28 miles of downtown San Luis Obispo and, with 80 miles of coastline, San Luis Obispo County features unlimited opportunities for surfers, anglers, kayakers and whale-watchers.

5. Opened in 2008, Poly Canyon Village houses approximately 2,700 students, contains 618 furnished apartment units and spans 30 acres. The state-of-the-art complex includes Einstein Bros. Bagels, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Jamba Juice, a post office, community center, swimming pool and study rooms. There are four floorplans in Poly Canyon Village that house up to six residents in private and shared bedrooms. Eighty percent of the apartments are four private bedroom units.

6. Cal Poly has strong rivalries in several sports, most notably the Blue-Green rivalry with UC Santa Barbara. Men's soccer matches pitting the Mustangs against the Gauchos typically draw sellout crowds of 11,075 at Alex G. Spanos Stadium and the Mustang football team also has drawn six sellout crowds in the last eight years, including three games with rival UC Davis.

7. Cal Poly has upgraded many of its athletics facilities since the turn of the century. Recent projects include the $4 million Anderson Aquatic Center, a new floor in Mott Gym, expansion of Alex G. Spanos Stadium to a capacity of 11,075 and installation of a $1 million state-of-the-art videoboard/scoreboard.

8. Cal Poly's expanded Recreation Center opened in January 2012 and includes six new racquetball courts, a lap swim pool, a leisure pool, locker rooms, three sand volleyball courts and barbecue area, an indoor track, three air-conditioned fitness studios, the martial arts room, a multi-activity center, 21,000 square feet of weight/exercise space, additional basketball, volleyball and badminton courts, and much more!

9. Cal Poly's admissions process is highly competitive. The 2015 Fall Quarter marked the 21st straight year that the university experienced a record applicant pool of nearly 51,000 prospective students. Freshmen enrolled for the Fall 2014 term had an average high school GPA of 4.0, an average ACT score of 27, and a combined average SAT 1 reading and math score of 1,300.

10. Cal Poly annually remains among the top-10 schools in the United States in granting degrees to Latino, Asian and other minority students in the fields of agriculture, architecture and engineering.

11. A Cal Poly graduate can expect a great return on their investment in their education. In a 2008-2009 self-reported survey conducted by Career Services, 81 percent of graduates reported they were either working full time (63 percent) or attending graduate school (18 percent).

12. Cal Poly's graduates are in high demand in the job market, with 56 percent reporting job offers before graduation. Within three months of graduation, 82 percent had jobs and, nine months after graduation, 97 percent of graduates had jobs. Of those reporting, 90 percent found jobs in their related field of study.

13. Cal Poly now has more than 150,000 alumni living and working everywhere from New York to Washington D.C. to Wisconsin to Idaho to Hawaii to Hong Kong. Geographically, San Luis Obispo County has the largest concentration of Cal Poly alumni (14,480+), followed by Santa Clara County (8,480+) and Los Angeles County (8,450+).

14. Prominent Cal Poly alumni include NASA astronauts Gregory Chamitoff, Robert L. Gibson and Rick Sturckow, "Voyager" designer Burt Rutan, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Ramos, U.S. Congressmen George Radanovich and Devin Nunes, Los Angeles Times national correspondent Peter King, Las Vegas entertainer of the year Danny Gans and former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell.

15. Since its move to NCAA Division I in 1994, Cal Poly has captured 49 conference championships through the 2014-15 school year. A total of 36 teams have qualified for NCAA Division I Tournament competition, led by women's volleyball with 14, men's cross country with seven and women's soccer with five. In addition, 206 student-athletes have competed in NCAA postseason competition as individuals.

16. In 21 Division I seasons, Cal Poly has produced 700 all-conference selections, 864 conference all-academic honorees, 25 regional or national academic selections, 39 conference coaches of the year and eight regional or national coaches of the year.

17. Cal Poly claimed 35 NCAA Division II national team championships prior to elevating its athletics program to Division I in 1994, including 10 in women's cross country, eight in wrestling, six each in men's and women's track and field and one in football.

18. Eleven Cal Poly athletes have earned NCAA Division I national championships, including nine in track and field and a pair of wrestlers. In Division II, more than 100 Cal Poly athletes captured individual national titles, including 83 in track and field and 18 in wrestling.

19. Cal Poly sponsors 21 intercollegiate sports -- 10 for men and 11 for women. Sixteen of the teams compete in the Big West Conference, of which Cal Poly became a full-fledged member on July 1, 1996. Football competes in the Big Sky Conference, wrestling in the Pac-12 and swimming and diving in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

20. Several Cal Poly teams have attained lofty national rankings. Women's volleyball, wrestling and football all have been ranked in the Top 10, while volleyball and baseball have each once been ranked No. 1 in the nation at the Division I level for a week. Softball and both soccer teams have also previously been in multiple top-25 national rankings in their histories.

21. Cal Poly is one of just four California schools competing in football in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision and is one of just three CSU schools that fields a football team. The Mustangs won four Great West titles in the eight-year history of the conference, a Big Sky championship in 2012, and have qualified for the NCAA FCS playoffs three times. Cal Poly also won the American West Conference title in 1994, its first year at the Division I level.

22. In 2008, former Cal Poly track and field standout Stephanie Brown captured Olympic gold in the women's discus at Beijing, becoming the third former Mustang to medal in the Olympics. Gina Miles earned a silver medal in the equestrian sport of eventing in Hong Kong, also in 2008, while Karen Kraft earned a silver medal for pairs rowing at the Atlanta Games in 1996 and a bronze at the 2000 competition in Sydney.

23. Many more Mustangs have excelled in the professional ranks, including Stan Sheriff, Gary Davis, Cecil Turner, Don Milan, Dana Nafziger, Jimmy Childs, Robbie Martin, Mel Kaufman, LeCharls McDaniel, Chris Thomas and, more recently, Jordan Beck, Chris Gocong, Courtney Brown, Ramses Barden and Asa Jackson in the National Football League. Ex-Mustang quarterback Bobby Beathard was a personnel director and general manager for many years in the NFL while John Madden and Ted Tollner were highly successful coaches in the college and/or NFL ranks.

24. Over the last 13 baseball seasons under the guidance of head coach Larry Lee, a total of 59 Mustangs were drafted, including 19 in the first 10 rounds. Ten former Mustangs haven been chosen in the first three rounds since the draft began in 1965. Six Mustangs have played in the Major Leagues in recent years -- pitchers Garrett Olson, Kevin Correia, Bud Norris and Casey Fien along with third baseman Brent Morel and outfielder Logan Schafer -- and the list of former Mustangs in the Major Leagues also includes Ozzie Smith, Mike Krukow and Thornton Lee.

25. In recent years, all Mustang programs have continued to produce professionals in their sports.

From men’s soccer, former midfielder Anton Peterlin was signed by Everton F.C. of the Barclays Premier League in 2008 and, with later stints at Plymouth Argyle F.C. and Walsall F.C., became the first Big West Conference player to appear in an English Football League match. Of the three former Mustangs selected in the MLS SuperDraft, forward Mackenzie Pridham plays for Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, midfielder George Malki plays for Arizona United SC and midfielder Junior Burgos plays for second-tier Atlanta Silverbacks. At the international level, former Mustang winger and current LA Galaxy II player Ari Lassiter made appearances in 2015 with the United States U-23 Men’s National Team.
The women’s soccer program recently saw former Big West Midfielder of the Year Cici Kobinski star as a winger for the Guam National Team, posting two goals and two assists as the Masakåda advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 East Asian Cup (making the sixth-largest jump among all 133 teams in FIFA’s rankings), while striker Elise Krieghoff, the NCAA’s leading goal-scorer in 2013, was invited to train with the USWNT U-23s in the summer of 2014.

Recent women’s basketball pros have included: Molly Schlemer, who in 2014-15 (as a rookie for the Chemnitz ChemCats of Germany) was the Damen Basketball Bundesliga's only first-year player to make the honors list; Kristina Santiago, an AP All-America honorable mention who won three consecutive Bulgaria MVP awards as her club, Dunav 8806, secured a three-peat of NBL championships from 2013-15; and Rachel Clancy, who went on to play in Spain for Real Canoe Natación.

The men’s basketball program, under seventh-year head coach Joe Callero, has produced 11 professional players. Recent ones include guard Amaurys Fermin, the 2013 Dominican Republic national league Rookie of the Year, and guard Drake U’u, who helped the Perth Wildcats to the 2013 Australian Basketball League title.

Representing wrestling, Chad Mendes — the 2007-08 Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year and that season’s NCAA runner-up in the 141-pound weight class — has gone on to become a world-famous MMA star in the UFC, fighting for the featherweight world championship on three occasions.

Among former Mustang golfers, Travis Bertoni, a 2006 graduate, has gone on to enjoy a lengthy career on the PGA circuit, earning a high of more than $125,000 from the Tour in 2010.

Additionally, from men’s tennis, two-time Big West Conference Player of the Year and 2013 Second-Team All-American Andre Dome won the Thailand F2 Futures Championship on the Chang ITF Pro Circuit in May 2015, and then in June added the Mexico F5 Futures title.